During the colonial periods in Gold Coast now called Ghana, the Europeans (Portuguese, Dutch and British) built castles and forts (three castles and fifteen forts) along the coast. Most of them are designated World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
AFROSAGES brings you some of these historical castles and forts you can visit when you come to Ghana during the “Year Of Return” campaign.
Osu Castle ( Fort Christiansborg )
Located in Osu, Accra and built by Denmark-Norway in the 1660s, has served as the Seat of Government. The castle has changed hands between Denmark, Norway, Portugal, the Akwamu and Britain. In 2017, the castle was converted into a Presidential Museum as part of Ghana’s 60th-anniversary legacy project.
It is opened on Fridays only from 9:00am to 4:00pm (may be closed at times because the area still remains a security zone). Nearby attractions include the Independence Square, Liberation Monument and the Independence Arch.
Cape Coast Castle
Cape Coast Castle played a significant role in the gold and the trans Atlantic slave trades and it is the largest commercial fort built in Ghana. It’s features include the “Gate Of No Return”, Dalzel Tower, the slave dungeons, and the cannons and mortars used in the Castle’s defense.
The Cape Coast Castle also contributed to the establishment of the first formal education system through Castle Schools and also the arrival of Christianity. The castle’s opening hours are 9:00am to 4:30pm daily.
Built by the Portuguese in 1482 and captured by the Dutch in 1637. It is the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea, and the oldest European building in existence south of the Sahara. It was also used in the slave trade.
Fort Saint Anthony
This fort built by the Portuguese in 1515 near the town of Axim in the Western Region, in what is now Ghana. In 1642, the Dutch captured the fort and subsequently made it part of the Dutch Gold Coast. The fort is opened from 9:00am to 4:30pm daily.
Fort Good Hope
Erected in 1715 by the Dutch, the fort located at Senya Beraku in the Central Region was the last fort built in the Gold Coast. In 1715 the fort was expanded to include large male and female slave prisons.
Fort Gross Friedricksburg
This fort is located at Princestown, in the Western Region of Ghana was completed in 1683. It was built of stone transported by sea between 1681 and 1683.The fort is currently a rest house. It can accommodate ten people at a time.
Situated at Butre in the Western Region, it served as a fort and trading post established by the Dutch on the Gold Coast in 1656.
It was built by the English between 1638 and 1645 as Fort Cormantin. The Fort is located at Abandze.
Fort Metal Cross
Originally Fort Dixcove, is a military structure in Dixcove, Ghana. Work commenced in 1683, but progress was impaired by continuous disputes between the English and the Brandenburgers.
Located at Keta in the Volta Region of Ghana, it was used in the slave trade. It was initially built by Danish traders in 1784 and it is among the four major structures that were built them.
Aside the slave trade, the Fort served an active purpose in the trade of imported and exported goods such as gold, ivory in a give-and-take for muskets, brandy, iron rods, textiles, cowries shells etc.
Fort St. Jago
Also known as Fort Conraadsburg, it was built to act as a shield and offer protection to the Elmina Castle because it is just a walking distance away from Elmina Castle.
Most Ghanaians do not even know about some of the places, we urge you to take time and visit these historic castles and forts. By visiting the castles and forts, you can learn about the useful history of Ghana and the African continent in general.